Today was a really good day. A hard day, but a good day. I did 61.3 miles, ending at a Motel 6 in Windsor Locks, CT, directly under the flight path at Bradley International Airport. The weather was superb: mid-70s and sunny!
- Miles ridden: 61.3 @ 10.0 mph
- Difficulty: 4.5 out of 5
- Execution: 4.7
- Fun/Interesting: 4.5
- Total: 13.7 out of 15
Adhering strictly to the constantly evolving rules of this scoring system, I give today 4.5 out of 5 in Difficulty. This was a tough day, but very rewarding. Lots of hills, including several where I had to put my feet down and gasp for breath multiple times. But I never walked, even though I gave myself permission to do so on two or three occasions. And the nice thing about hills is that what goes up must come down. So for all those two- or three-mile climbs, there was a corresponding two- or three-mile descent. With Billy fully loaded such as he is, climbing is very slow, but descents are thrilling!
Execution was good today. Breakfast at the Hampton Inn was very good, with scrambled eggs and potatoes. I exercised restraint, and did not have a waffle or a pastry. However, a minor navigational misjudgment around lunch cost me a few points. I was aiming for the Traveler Restaurant, along I-84. I was following Google Maps. It seemed like it would take me to the restaurant, but when I came back to the main road, I was two and a half miles too far. I wasn’t going to add 5 miles to the trip by backtracking, so I kept riding. There were no lunch places indicated on any map, so I was resigned to eating peanut butter and crackers. In the town of Holland, MA, I came across a local convenience store, where I stopped to get a Gatorade and a Diet Coke. Inside, I realized I could get a sandwich, so I had a turkey grinder, which I ate while sitting outside the store. (See my stuff on the table to the left, next to my bike.)
Long time readers may recall my rants about Google Maps for cyclists. 95% of the time it is miraculous. The remaining 5%, not so much. So when the road sign said Dead End, but Google Maps said go, I was conflicted. After thinking it over I decided to take the chance and follow Google Maps. About a half mile down the road I came to a barrier across the road indicating, in no uncertain terms, the road was closed. You can see the barrier at the top of this post.
As you can see in the picture, beyond the barrier is the remnants of a smooth, paved road, with a painted center line. Vegetation encroaches heavily on both sides. Clearly this is a road that is no longer maintained. The big question is, can a bicycle or pedestrian get by? Or, for example, is there a bridge missing or impenetrable sandy gravel?
After pondering this for a few moments, I decided to take a chance. It was easy to ride around the barrier. The road was perfectly smooth and took me through a beautiful forest, coming out to a swamp meadow. In front of me the road was under water. It appeared about three or four inches deep at the max. I could see the bottom. (That last point is crucial.)
So I rode through the water. Slow and careful, watching for the bottom at all times. No potholes. However, my feet did go underwater at the bottom of every pedal stroke, so my shoes got good and wet. No problem, it’s a warm summer day. You can see my tracks on the pavement below.
And in the Fun/Interesting category, today was both fun and interesting. Here are some photos, in addition to the above mentioned stuff.
Tomorrow looks to be an easy day, 36 miles to Torrington, CT. It will be a leisurely start in the morning. I already have breakfast identified, at a diner a half mile down the road.